Lucid Fly is becoming an underground force to be reckoned with. Their amazing blend of Prog, Atmosphere, and catchy Hard Rock And Metal is perfectly captured on the band's debut LP Building Castles in Air which was released in November 2016. With an amazing resume of shows and music clientele, the band is going to be breaking new ground in 2017. I got the chance to talk to vocalist Nikki Layne to discuss everything in the world of Lucid Fly!
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. For those that may not be familiar with the band, tell everyone a little bit about yourselves.
We are an alternative/progressive/rock band based in Los Angeles, CA.
The band started back in Orlando, Florida in 2000. Doug Mecca (the guitarist) and I formed the band after he found my Musician’s Classified ad in the (now defunct) Jam Magazine. I was looking to join or start a band – I had never been in a band, but I knew I had a voice and I wanted to see where it all lead. In 2007, we relocated from Orlando, FL to Los Angeles, CA where we met our current drummer, Aaron Ficca. We have put out 3 EPs and in November 2016, we released our first LP, "Building Castles In Air".
The name “Lucid Fly” is from a headline in a newspaper that read “Lucid Flies into the Record Books, about the female astronaut Shannon Lucid who spent 188 days in space, aboard Mir, the Russian space station. Her stay was not expected to last so long but her return was delayed twice (once due to a hurricane!), extending her stay by about six weeks…so as a result, she held the record for the most hours in orbit by a non-Russian and most hours in orbit by a woman.
Building Castles On Air has been out for 2 months now. How has the reception been so far?
The response to the new album has been overwhelming! We have had a ton of great reviews and the album has been included in 8 Top Albums/Best of Lists for 2016! We are just so honored and grateful that our music has made an impact on people in a positive way – we’re just doing what we love and we hope that people continue to listen and share!
With self producing the album, did you find it easier or harder to work by yourselves when recording?
This album had a more DIY approach from the start which is completely different than anything we have done in the past. It was a bit of a challenge at times, but we were able to really take time for each instrument. Guitars were done mostly at home using Doug's favorite new toy the Fractal Axe-Fx, which allowed him the flexibility to capture the songs with proper tone. We did work with a co-producer, Steve Leavitt, for the bass and vocals. We moved the remainder of the album to his studio where it was decided to have Doug track bass for the first time. Vocals got the most production and attention than ever before and that's been something we wanted to try for years. In addition, we were fortunate to have the album mixed and mastered by Forrester Savell (Melbourne, Australia) – he’s ARIA nominated and an internationally renowned producer/engineer who has worked on acts like: Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus, Skyharbor, I Am Giant, Twelve Foot Ninja, etc. Overall, the recording process took a bit longer than we had expected but it was an amazing experience, we learned a lot and we really feel these songs represent who we have become as musicians and as a band.
You have an amazing blend of styles that I thoroughly enjoy; combing some great elements of atmospheric, alternative, and prog moments. Was this always the intention of the band to have this style or did it come organically?
Thanks! Ultimately it must be the combination of each member’s influence that defines the style of Lucid Fly’s - it changes a bit every time we write something new probably because we all listen to so much diverse music. The one common thread might be that each song has to keep everyone in the band interested -- and with all our influences that means it can’t ever be boring! Songs can be written almost completely in an hour or meticulously worked over several months until everyone feels that it’s complete - but pretty much no song is truly complete until it’s tracked in the studio. Maybe it’s safe to say that the band likes to take potentially complex and busy ideas and combine them into a cohesive song that hides the details within -- yet each song is loaded with details. In the end they are just songs that each member feels are fun both to listen to and to perform, even after many, many times!
I imagine it had to be an amazing feeling being asked by Mike Portnoy to be a part of his Progressive Nation At Sea cruise in 2014. 2 years later, how would you describe the experience? Any particular favorite sets?
Yes, being chosen as one of the 17 up-and-coming bands to perform on the Millennium stage, was a life-changing and pivotal point for our band! It was our first “international” gig, and what better way to spend your time than performing and vacationing alongside amazing bands like Animals as Leaders, Periphery, Riverside, Devin Townsend, Jolly, The Dear Hunter, Anathema, Jon Anderson (and many more)! We learned so much from so many talented musicians, being up close and personal AND on that trip, we met friends and fans for life from all over the world!
Some of the most memorable sets we saw on that cruise were the Devin Townsend Project, Anneke Van Giersbergen's acoustic set, Beardfish, Thank You Scientist, and Pain of Salvation. (Hanging with Jon Anderson at dinner was pretty memorable too! LOL)
What are the plans for the band in 2017?
Our main focus for 2017 is to put together a live show so we can start performing and touring in support of “Building Castles In Air” – we are ready to get back out there in full force!
Besides Building Castles On Air, did you have any favorite albums of 2016?
Doug and I host a monthly radio show called NegativeSp8ce Radio on luckystarradio.com - the first Tuesday of each month at 5pm PST - we showcase our favorite 8 bands that we've discovered that month - so there are TONS! But, if we had to choose - our top picks for 2016 would be:
Vola - "Inmazes"
Port Noir - "Any Way The Wind Carries"
The Pineapple Thief - "Your Wilderness"
When you are not busy writing, recording, and playing shows, how do you like to enjoy yourself?
We love going to as many concerts as possible, we love to travel, try new foods, hiking and hanging with friends!
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. I am really enjoying what I have heard from the new album and definitely wanna go back and check out everything you have done and really looking forward to what’s next. Before we are done is there anything else you would like to mention that I haven’t brought up yet?
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